I am lucky enough to live in Northern California with my husband, youngest daughter, dogs, cats, chickens and tons of wildlife on 300 acres, and 2 adult children nearby not too far from the Mendocino coast. My jewelry designs reflect the things I love and will often take you into the garden, the ocean or to travel destinations.
Before my husband and I began building our home together, I was a crafty person but had never worked with ‘real tools’. I quickly found I loved working with all sorts of tools and the unlimited possibilities they open up to create. There are those that say, “Building a home together can make or break you!” We’ve since built two homes together. We are the lucky ones, we work well together and he inspires me every day. I’m also lucky that so many talented people in the jewelry making world are so willing to share their craft, as well as all the people I’m lucky enough to have share my life, from my husband and his ‘can do attitude,’ to the talents of my Mother, sisters, daughters, and friends.
My first experience in jewelry making was when my friend (and fellow jewelry artist on Oahu) called and asked if I wanted to “go shopping”, she was referring to shell shopping, as in mask, fins and snorkel combing Sunset Beach for her jewelry bling. We ‘shopped’ then she took me home and shared her craft. That was the beginning of my passion with jewelry making with ‘real tools’, which has taken my ‘crafting’ to a new level.
I started by making leather wrap bracelets, adding beading and wirework and then eventually found my real passion with metal clay and metalsmithing. Each new technique I learn opens up possibilities and my passion grows. I learn something with each piece, and the desire to create gets stronger and stronger.
Learning new skills is extremely exciting and rewarding. Because we live in remote Northern California, my access to formal learning is very limited (almost non-existent). There are no local jewelry classes or metalsmith schools within 100 miles, so to continue learning and develop my skills I turn to the internet or “YouTube University’ (as my husband calls it), books, an occasional class in the city when I can and endless trial and error.
Experimentation is part of the process and I love the feeling I get when I create a new piece. The hardest part is fighting the constant desire to spend all my time in my studio. I work with all kinds of base metals, precious metals, including recycled metals, metal clays, and leather. I love to incorporate sea glass, gemstones and found objects as well. Each piece of Jewelry is individually crafted. While some designs can be created again, there will be slight variations.
This is a wonderful way to be a part of the process and put your own ideas into a wearable piece of jewelry that you will enjoy forever. We usually begin with a glass wine while perusing the studio together, getting to know your likes and dislikes; the colors, gemstones and the styles that catch your eye. Even if you don’t have an exact idea when you arrive, you will have at least one design you will be very excited about, yet more often than not, you will have multiple designs you will love.
You would think that I would have needed to pull off an Oscar-winning speech/sweet-talk for my husband to come up with this idea: Wouldn’t it be great if you had your own dedicated space to create and design – whatever that might be? While designing our dream home, it was HIS idea for me include a separate space to create. So today, after all the designing and redesigning, I finally have my “creative place of zen”. Take a quick tour of where I spend most of the hours in my day (and night).